Nigeria: Lagdo Dam Deluge - Cameroun Gave 24-Hour Notice - NEMA

Nigeria: Lagdo Dam Deluge - Cameroun Gave 24-Hour Notice - NEMA

Tagged: Cameroon, Central Africa, Environment, Nigeria, Water, West Africa By Chuks Ohuegbe, John Mkom, and Pembi Stephen-David,

15 September 2012

Comment The flood disaster that hit some riverine communities in Adamawa State recently, after the Camerounian authorities discharged water from the Lagdo Dam, could not be avoided because Nigeria was alerted to the water release only 24 hours before the action was taken.

 

The director-general, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA),Dr. Ahmed Sani-Sidi, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja during a visit to the corporate headquarters of LEADERSHIP Newspapers. To prevent a recurrence of the incident, the NEMA chief urged the federal government to de-silt River Benue and build some dams in that part of the country.

Sani-Sidi said the short notice was the main reason NEMA was unable to prevent the destruction caused by the water release. His stated: "They wrote the Nigerian government informing of their plan on a Thursday. On Friday, water from the Lagdo Dam was discharged. At about noon, the ambassador arrived with the letter and I called for a stakeholders' meeting. We had so short a time to do anything meaningful. "When the water was released, I was in Ghana. But I ensured that the states along the river course were informed to alert their people by creating awareness and advising them to relocate to higher ground.

That was all we could do at that point, nothing more. "However, I commend the Camerounian government for being so specific. The letter said that they would discharge some water from the dam 'if the rain continued'." Sani-Sidi blamed state and local governments as well as the attitude of Nigerians living in the communities along flood paths for the damage. "The attitude of our people in these flood-prone areas is not helping issues. Many times, we have alerted the people in these places to move to higher ground, but they did not listen," he said.

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